Whaligoe Haven

Near Ulbster, a slightly-less-narrow spot on a diminutive two-lane Scottish road, you’ll find Whaligoe Haven. This is a beautiful little place you’re told to watch out for, but it doesn’t show up on the national maps and there is no signage. You park behind a hotel and walk through someone’s garden to get there. And then, there are the steps.

You go down to look up, and when you look up you are surrounded on three sides by 250-foot cliffs.

It is a beautiful harbor, at the bottom is a manmade grassy area and the ruin of an ancient storage building that held salt used to cure fish. You’re standing just in front of what’s left of the stone walls from this view:

So let’s talk about the name. A “goe” is a rocky inlet surrounded by cliffs. The prevailing opinion is that Whaligoe was named after a dead whale that was washed ashore here.

There are 334 flagstone Whaligoe Steps, and this dates back to at least 1769, but there’s no consensus on when they were built. The current design, however, dates back to 1792.

More than 20 fishing boats used this harbor each summer during its most successful period in the 19th century. The last ship sailed away in the 1960s.

Whaligoe Haven is now maintained by volunteers.

Tonight we’re in Kingussie, in the Cairngorms National Park, where we’ll spend two days. We walked through town today, had afternoon tea and saw a few gift shops. I liked the cover of this day planner:

And of course I took pictures of this book to send to people.

It was a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing, but it made fun of men far more than women:

We’re staying in a 140-year-old Victorian home. After dinner in a pub downtown, we’re having tea and shortbread before we call it a night. Tomorrow, we go canyoneering!

Comments are closed.